USHE institutions were awarded a combined $992,500 from the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to support new Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP) projects during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. This funding allows USHE institutions to develop and enhance programs that lead to job creation and talent development in high-demand industries within the regions they serve. Here is a summary of the USHE projects that will be supported with this year’s funding.
SLCC: Plastics Molding Skilled Workers Project ($175,000)
SLCC will use UCAP funding to develop a blended-learning model curriculum for its Plastics Injection Molding Program—a program that will help fill vital industry-identified positions. UCAP funds will also be used to purchase steel molds, CNC machine for making custom molds, drill press and lathe in order to finish equipping the plastics lab. Excitingly, the full implementation of this project will allow students from SLCC and other institutions to design and print a prototype and then inject that prototype product into a plastics injection machine.
Snow College: IT/CS Expansion Program ($100,000)
With this grant, Snow College will be able to introduce its Computer Networking program on the Ephraim campus, create and introduce Website and Mobile programs, and develop four new courses for the Computer Science program.
SUU: Workforce Development for MSC Aerospace Industry Cluster ($73,500)
Funds will enable SUU to create courses using Unigraphics (NX) software, train SUU and other faculty to be proficient in Geometric Dimensioning, Product Lifestyle Management, and Numeric Control. Importantly, getting these courses and trainings in place will ready SUU to recruit and train 75-100 engineering and technology skilled employees in Unigraphics by 2020, which is the estimated number of employees MSC Aerospace industry partners identified as needing to hire.
UofU: Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine Mini-Cluster ($200,000)
UCAP funds will support the formation of a Cell and Regenerative Medicine Therapy (CTRM) mini-cluster within the Life Sciences industry by training individuals to perform large-scale manufacturing of novel cellular therapy therapeutics. This center is expected to attract and grow businesses in Utah which deliver novel cellular therapeutic treatments for debilitating diseases and disorders such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and diabetes.
USU Moab: Launching Career, Technical and STEM Education Programs ($101,000)
“Out of the 20 Utah Counties, Grand County has the fourth highest unemployment rate, the seventh lowest average monthly wage, and the sixth lowest median household income. Fifty percent of students are classified as low-income, and 25% are classified as experiencing inter-generational poverty.” In order to combat these statistics, USU Moab, with the aid of UCAP and other grant funding opportunities, will create the USU Moab CTE STEM center; UCAP funds will directly be used to hire the center’s Director to create and organize the Center’s offerings. Additionally, funding will be used to obtain and install software and other educational programs and materials for the Center as well as support student services such as recruitment, registration and tracking. Three key occupational clusters identified include IT, Finance, and Construction. This program will also link to another initiative, USU Moab’s BEACON after-school program, which offers after-school activities and programming designed specifically to be a catalyst for student success from exploration and interest development to gainful employment in CTE and STEM disciplines.
USU Blanding: Expanding Healthcare Workforce in Eastern Utah ($160,000)
USU Blanding will use UCAP funds to create training pathways and certificates for students in three identified healthcare industries: pharmacy technician, surgical technician, and medical scribe. All three programs will allow successful completers to sit for national exams in these related fields.
UVU: Regulatory Affairs Graduate Certificate—Year 2 ($33,000)
This is the second year UCAP has funded UVU’s Regulatory Affairs Graduate Certificate; second year funding will help transition the program from grant support to full sustainability by the institution. UCAP funds for this program will result in 15-20 new certificate holders through scholarship funding, adjunct professor salaries, program development and materials. In training individuals to be Regulatory Affairs specialists, UVU will fulfill industry’s request for regulatory talent.
WSU: Production Control and Automation ($150,000)
WSU will create a certificate program in Production Control and Automation. UCAP funding will be used to purchase lathes and mills in order to respond to industry needs. Specifically, this program will teach the basics of material removal using online instruction to simulate the operation of basic machines. WSU has worked closely with its regional economic developers and sister academic institutions to create a seamless pathway to advanced manufacturing jobs.
Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP) is a collaborative partnership between the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and is designed to strengthen collaboration between education, industry and economic development partners to improve Utah’s economic outlook. UCAP provides funding to public post-secondary educational institutions to develop, implement or enhance innovative programs that are responsive to regional or statewide workforce needs within targeted industries. UCAP also provides funding to state and local economic developers that serve a state designated industry or regional economic need.